When Roddenberry first proposed Star Trek to the network, he sent over a sixteen-page memo entitled “Star Trek Is…” that explained what the core concept for the series was while offering up story possibilities. It’s obvious how talented Roddenberry was as a salesman: he makes the now-famous parallel to Wagon Train and outlines how he can make a smart show that manages to be budget-conscious at the same time with the “Parallel Worlds” concept. We’d see the latter appear in the series as Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, which gave them the opportunity to use existing sets and costumes.
It’s interesting to look at now and see how various ideas mutated and combined to become episodes of The Original Series and The Next Generation that we now know and love. “The Next Cage,” obviously, becomes “The Cage” and “The Day Charlie Became God” would later air as “Charlie X.” In David Gerrold’s The World Of Star Trek, he writes that there was a sincere attempt to make “Kongo” into a full-fledged episode with a script having seen multiple drafts but that, perhaps thankfully, never happened. DeForest Kelley was very keen on that idea, as he wanted an episode that would center around his character’s working relationship (and friendship) with Uhura.
(The Drake equation, for the record, is real. Roddenberry didn’t have a copy of the original equation at the time of the presentation, so he made up his own version to use. When he visited the set, Dr. Frank Drake pointed out that a value raised to the first power is just the value itself.)
It’s the 50th anniversary of this document.